While designer drugs and “super opioids” like fentanyl are dominating the public conversation on addiction right now, many people forget that alcohol remains the number one abused substance in the U.S. (as well as around the world). This also means that alcoholism remains the most prevalent addiction in our society. Due to this reality, it is just as important as ever to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of alcoholism. Being able to do so may end up saving someone’s life.
A Better Understanding of Alcoholism
Alcoholism is defined by an inability to control one’s drinking, often involving physical and emotional dependence on alcohol. For example, someone with alcoholism may become get physically ill if they do not have any alcohol in their system. This is known as alcohol withdrawal.
Similarly, someone with alcoholism may struggle to focus on anything other than their next drink. In 12-Step recovery, this is referred to as “the obsession of the mind,” and it can be just as debilitating as the physical side-effects of alcoholism.
It is also important to recognize that alcoholism impairs brain structure and functioning. It can delay development in younger users, and it can lead to brain damage in those who struggle with active alcoholism for long periods of time.
Recognizing the Signs of Alcoholism
Many people may confuse the signs and symptoms of alcoholism. The signs of alcoholism have more to do with behaviors while the symptoms have more to do with the actual effects of the substance on the mind and body.
Now, the following are just a few of the signs that someone may be struggling with alcoholism:
- Once they start drinking, they have trouble stopping or moderating
- They go past boundaries that they set for themselves regarding their drinking, such as I am only going to drink on the weekends
- Missing work or school due to drinking or the subsequent hangovers
- Drinking when they first wake up; “day drinking”
- Becoming upset when there is no alcohol available
- Disengaging with friends, family, and activities that they once enjoyed
- Isolating away from loved ones so they can drink alone
Now, there is a good possibility that if some of these warning signs are present, the symptoms of alcoholism are present too; or, they will be soon.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Alcoholism
The symptoms of alcoholism do not always have to be solely physical; they can be mental, spiritual, and emotional as well. However, to recognize them, they must bubble up to the surface. The following are just a few of the symptoms of alcoholism:
- Shaking, sweating, and feeling nauseous when alcohol is not in their system
- Pale or jaundiced complexion and potentially bloodshot or jaundiced eyes
- Having trouble maintaining a healthy weight (either eating excessively or not eating enough)
- Feeling depressed and anxious both while drinking and not drinking
- Experiencing gastrointestinal problems
- Having trouble urinating
- Trouble sleeping, either too much or too little
- Having trouble remembering things, or concentrating for reasonable periods of time
- Experiencing pain in the muscles and joints
What to Do When the Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism Exist
If you are experiencing any of the previously listed signs and symptoms of alcoholism, it is wise to seek help as soon as possible. Additionally, if you see any of these warning signs or symptoms in a loved one, the same is also true, though it can be difficult to convince them that they need help.
If a loved one is exhibiting warning signs and symptoms of alcoholism, but they don’t want to accept help, the next step might be to stage an intervention. An intervention is when friends and family get together and offer someone who is struggling with addiction help. If they are willing to accept help, that’s great. With that, it is important to have a potential treatment plan and facility all ready to go.
If they are not ready to go, however, it is important to set boundaries and let them know that you are going to distance yourself until they seek help. This may include things like not allowing them into the home, no longer letting them see their kids, or cutting them off financially. While this may feel difficult, if it helps them seek help sooner than later, it will be worth it.
The Phoenix Recovery Center: Helping People Recover From Alcoholism Is Our Primary Purpose
Here at The Phoenix Recovery Center, we know it can be hard to see someone struggle with the symptoms of alcoholism. That is why it is crucial to get them help as soon as the signs of alcoholism start to show up.
Here at The Phoenix Recovery Center, our primary purpose is to help people recover from alcoholism and other issues of addiction and mental illness. That includes you or a loved one. As soon as you are ready to reach out your hand for help, we’ll be here to take it.
If you feel like you or a loved one may be struggling with issues of addiction or mental health, we can help. For more information on how we treat alcoholism and offer our clients a safe and effective recovery, please reach out to The Phoenix Recovery today at (801) 438-3185.